stuff i liked recently

a picture of ash as a baby in a walker with their tongue hanging out and a potted pothos nearby

The only thing I want to wear right now are the Oilers sweatshirts we’ve accumulated from their collabs with 22fresh because the quality of the sweatshirts is soooooooooo good. They’re warm without being stuffy, heavy and a little oversized, and super comfortable. I’d probably order some straight up 22fresh ~merch if they believed fat people exist. At least the Oilers do for now tho! I accidentally made an OCD rule that I couldn’t wear team gear on game days so I haven’t gotten to wear them as much as I would have wanted, but come cooler weather and the new season we’re breaking that dumbass rule real quick!

four oilers sweatshirts starting with green tie dye, two black ones with pink and blue logos, and a pink and blue tiedye one

I watched Dune and liked it a lot, even though I did not think I would at all. I also watched and loved Bottoms, which reminded me of my own high school experience way more than one would imagine based on how it all plays out, lmao.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Chappell Roan like all good queers everywhere. I feel like I’ve been listening to “Pink Pony Club” for like eighty years at this point just waiting to get a full album and I wouldn’t have thought it would live up to it, but it did!

I also listened through Men I Trust’s entire discography and was not disappointed even once. I like that you almost never know what to expect from a song, jazzy Carla Bruni-esque almost jazz or low-pro garage-y chick rock and whatever it is they’re doing at any time somehow seems to work.

I, insanely, have absolutely nothing to say about any books this month. I read the first issue of Steeple which I loved, but I can’t read anymore because every library inexplicably only has the first issue and not the first volume and yes, as you can tell, I have yelled about this repeatedly.

In other things, I am hooked on Marcella Gourmet Sweet Pickled Garlic which Crystal randomly bought at Menards. Being midwestern means knowing that some of the most delicious things you can eat will be purchased at your local big box home improvement store and ain’t that grand? Also little s’more bites from Target that we demolished in like two days. I have also become a recent Scrub Daddy convert. I’m not actually big on the original sponges, but the dishwand was recommended to me by a very long time internet friend and she was right, it whips! Isn’t adulthood thrilling?!

Okay, love you, see you soon!

stuff i liked recently

a picture of ash as a baby in a walker with their tongue hanging out and a potted pothos nearby

Some books: I’m not having good luck with books this year! But I read some alright ones! Kiel Phegley, Strikers and Stephanie Hoyt, Prove It and Cat Sebastian, We Could Be So Good.

Some tunes: Games We Play, “Girl Shaped Crater” which i have been listening to on repeat like an insane person. Oh and Kittie’s “We Are Shadows,” which is SO good and also it’s great that while I am experiencing a personal metal revival via this playlist for the 13yo in my heart, so many bands I liked at that age are coming back. And The Decemberists in general, but specifically I’ll Be Your Girl, this time around. 2024! The year I become a Decemberists guy! As I have already said! A lot!

Some eyeball stuff: I am still watching a movie a week and I rewatched The Social Network which is still just phenomenal. Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher, absolute TITANS of film, coming together to make a movie about something as stupid as Facebook lawsuits and every second of it is perfect. Sorkin’s a prick, but that man can write dialogue, babey. And everyone’s just acting the hell out of it. Andrew Garfield’s beautiful face haunted with emotion, Jesse Eisenberg’s blank disinterest that you somehow know is because he’s too busy thinking about something else to be present… Fantastic.

I also watched Poor Things which was so much weirder (POSITIVE!) than I was expecting and while the story was fine to good, the sets and costuming are going to be what really stick for me, just absolutely beautiful and stylized and fun to look at for the whole runtime. Also, Emma Stone was GREAT. I don’t care about awards, but for sure she deserved whichever one of those things she won.

Alright, that’s it! See you next month! Love you!

stuff i liked recently

a picture of ash as a baby in a walker with their tongue hanging out and a potted pothos nearby

I know I mentioned The Decemberists’ Hazards of Love the last time around, but I’d only listened through it once, I think, and since then I have listened to it… many more times through. I love an album that really feels like it’s MEANT to be heard as an album and is also good enough to actually bother doing it. I’ve never been a big Decemberists guy though of course like any sane person I do have some favorites including “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” and “Los Angeles, I’m Yours” and though I have given myself some shit for never bothering to investigate further and thus missing out on many years of enjoyment of this album, I also know that with all things, sometimes stuff just comes to you at exactly the right time and 2024 is my year for Hazards of Love, I guess.

And, after listening to I’ll Be Your Girl several times, the Decemberists in general!

I also spent a lot of time this first quarter of the year listening to Metric’s Formentera which is just 48 minutes of strangely danceable beats under kind of bleak lyrics, which feels appropriate for the world where we’re living in. “All Comes Crashing” kind of kicks my ass like brand new every time – When push it comes to shove / We do not fall out of love / We double down, we do not fade / For all I know / This might be my last night / If that’s how it goes, there’s no one / I would rather be lying beside – like, good god damn, folks!

I also got super into Art of Doubt, so perhaps 2024 is the year of the Decemberists and Metric? Sounds good!

One of my resolutions this year was to watch one movie a week and that’s been going pretty good! I’m ~allowed to rewatch, so I have hit some favorites, but we recently watched The Bodyguard on a whim and it ripped.

Every time I watch a Kevin Costner movie I’m just a little bit amazed that at one point he was basically like, THE biggest movie star in the world and could pretty much do anything he wanted because he’s just not really that good looking (though handsome and human in a way that I feel kind of disappeared from big movies because everything’s a comic book movie and everyone’s ripped and jawsome) and he’s really not particularly charismatic or compelling and YET! By the end of the movie you’re pretty much sold on him and it’s kind of inexplicable and wild tbh.

This one had all the pieces though: Whitney is so beautiful and the songs are so good and all the pieces work just right — hearing “I Will Always Love You” at the bar… CINEMA! — and the harrowing rescue at The Mayan Theater… what a SCENE! It wasn’t necessarily good by any real definition, but it was a MOVIE, and everyone had human looking teeth instead of bathroom tile veneers and I will take what I can get in this day and age.

Also men should always be cutting fruit with a knife in their hand and eating it from the blade. Things would be better if they did.

Okay, that’s all for now! Bye!

totally top five: 2021

It really seemed like things were getting better there for a minute, didn’t it?

Anyway! In the spaces between my brain going, “We :) are :) living :) through :) a :) plague :),” I have tried to compile some of the stuff I loved best this year! I did a lot of music listening and a lot of reading and not a lot of much else, so let’s see where 2021 shook out!


I didn’t read my first KJ Charles this year, but I did get very into Spectred Isle and Slippery Creatures which I did read in 2021. Charles has a masterful way with both worldbuilding — something I don’t usually care about since I’m not a supernatural/historical/scifi/fantasy person! — and romantic tension, but also manages dialogue that’s fun and snappy without feeling forced between characters that are likable and interesting.


My most listened to artist according to Spotify this year was The Tragically Hip which is absolutely true, and I got into quite a few other artists this year — Goat Girl, Deaf Poets, Father John Misty, Shakey Graves, Tyler Childers, Meg Myers — but I think the album I listened to most — and often started over from the beginning as soon as it ended — was Miya Folick’s Premonitions. Every song is great and the album as a whole works incredibly well and I couldn’t be more grateful to the algorithm serving it to me, even if it was a couple years late. I’d be remiss not to shoutout the live version of “Thingamajig” which puts me through an emotional blender every. single. time.


My favorite book this year was Elif Batuman’s The Idiot which took me almost two years to finish, but only due to a mix of personal problems and the whole world going to hell. It’s an exceptional book, somehow about nothing and everything simultaneously, funny and really heartfelt, thoughtful about the experiences of a young adulthood that looked nothing like mine and yet still managed to be incredibly relatable. As previously noted on Twitter, I cannot properly express how hard or how many times I’ve laughed at, “Dracula had a totally different experience at the zoo from that of other people.”


I read a ton of queer sports romances this year, both while on my Unlimited Summer 2021 journey and not, and though most of them were fine to very bad, I did read quite a few that were great.

            

Rachel Reid’s books are all very solid, but I was particularly fond of Heated Rivalry and Role Model and I think Ilya Rozanov is going to go down as one of my favorite characters in the last five years, easily. A.L. Heard’s Hockey Bois was the best book with a bad title I read this year, charming and sweet and very much about the romance of adult domesticity. Ashlyn Kane and Morgan James’ Winging It was also really charming with a fun cast and some good hockey cameos. Cait Nary’s Season’s Change was a dream, one of my favorite reads this year, full of characters I loved and cared about and with sharp writing better than basically everything else I’ve seen in the genre. Sorry you have to wait ’til February to read it!


Some other stuff I’ve loved this year, both new and more deeply: this vertical mouse, All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs, these maxi dresses, sitting the fuck down whenever humanly possible, these food storage containers, Flipped, this goofy light, baseball — particularly the Dodgers and the Padres, Kringle Cream, Fear Street: 1994, these reusable water bottles, Walking Alice on YouTube, sleeping under this weighted blanket, laying down on the floor in a pile of pillows, Paramount+, these sweaters and these cropped hoodies from Target, and the Minnesota Wild.


Happy almost New Year! Here’s to high hopes and low expectations for 2022! I hope this year treats you kinder than the last and I hope you’re kinder to yourself than you ever have been before. I love you! Be safe! ♥

totally top five: 2020

You ever spend at least five or six minutes a day staring into the middle distance and trying to process that we’re all living through like, three to five global catastrophes simultaneously? And then get up and put your clothes on and go to work anyway? Oh yeah of course you have that’s what 2020 was all about.

I know that, functionally and realistically, absolutely nothing is going to change between December 31, 2020 and January 1, 2021, but holy shit am I be glad to close the door on this shitshow of a year regardless.

My attention span went to hell this year, amongst other attributes, and I pretty much ceased watching or reading anything after about… August? I did continue to listen to new music as without it I die, but everything else was just a barren field of nothingness. My Goodreads year-end roundup felt particularly pointed this year, but what can you do, right?

ANYWAY, here’s my top five for the year. Just the one list, categories be damned.

Orville Peck was my most listened-to artist this year. Crystal gave me Pony at the start of the year when she did her annual comb-through of all the year-end lists; I was hooked from the jump and I stand by everything I said about it in January. Peck’s voice is so easy to listen to even though it’s deeply emotional and there’s something really magical about his arrangements. I’ve loved everything he’s done this year as well — the cover of “Smalltown Boy” is one of my favorite pieces of music from 2020 and “No Glory in the West” just absolutely kicked my ass across the prairie — and I also have to blame and thank him for really opening me up to country music this year. I had, obviously, moved away from my youthful “everything but country” attitude to music, but the algorithm responded to my listening habits and offered up a ton of new music I wouldn’t have necessarily been interested in before because it was country or country adjacent including some new legit favorites like Colter Wall and Evil and Sunny War.

Sarah Henstra’s We Contain Multitudes is still really the only piece of media I consumed this year that really fucked me up emotionally in exactly the way I like to be fucked up emotionally. My Goodreads review is still right on and what I said in May here still stands as well. This is just a really lovely story with characters it’s easy to care about and get invested in with complex life experiences that complicate how they relate to one another. I’ve bought, I think, almost ten copies of this book for other people since I finished reading it and if that’s not a ringing recommendation, I don’t know what possibly could be.

I joked earlier this year that since Crystal had decided to attempt to claim her Canadian citizenship, I was going to try to get into The Tragically Hip so that I could be adequately prepared for whatever it meant to live with a Canadian, but it turns out that they’re great and I was just missing out all these years. (Not that I necessarily assumed they weren’t good but like, you know… Canadians, right?) I would start listing the favorites I’ve accumulated here, but there are just too many to be honest. I do have a favorites playlist but it is incomplete, so tread with that in mind. Truly, RIP Gord Downie, and thanks for the boss tunes.

Letterkenny ended up being one of the only media experiences we had this year and I still stand by every word I said about it in March. Just thinking about it can make me laugh and we’ve held off on watching the new episodes specifically because we want to have something to look forward to. Crystal and I had a long conversation the other day that meandered over a bunch of media and it ultimately came down to the idea that not enough weird shit is getting made. Everything is a remake or re-adaptation or a sequel and I know we’ve all been screaming about that for more than a decade at this point, but it’s nice to watch something like Letterkenny that is weird and funny and has a big heart too.

As previously discussed at length (kinda), I watch hockey now! Again! Regularly for the first time since I was a youth. This was an exceptionally weird season in which to get invested in sports of any kind and by the end of it I had attached myself to thirteen teams (seven “primaries and six “auxiliaries” because I certainly cannot do anything normally) and several of those teams went to the playoffs, some of them deep, and one of them all the way to the Cup final! Which was rad, but also sucked because they lost, though it was tempered by my enthusiasm for the finals being between teams from non-traditional hockey markets! Anyway, I think cishet men should be banned from talking about sports where other people can see it, but otherwise I’ve been having a spectacular time and can’t wait for the new season even though having it happen under the current conditions of the world also terrifies me. The grueling mechanism of capitalism, etc etc.

      

Happy New Year! Here’s to high hopes and low expectations for 2021! I hope this year treats you kinder than the last and I hope you’re kinder to yourself than you ever have been before. I love you! Be safe!